First Fear

The first time I remember being afraid, really afraid, was when I was 7 years old, perhaps 8. It was evening, during the week, and my family and I were arranged around the tv as we always were at that time of the night. I don’t remember what was on the tv, but whatever it was, it made me ask my dad what war was and why did people fight. I don’t remember his explanation, or the pictures on the tv screen. All I remember was his explanation of what a bomb was and nuclear war that could obliterate us and I felt fear. The fear I experienced was the first time I had ever felt fear bigger than me. The images in my head that I had, of a bomb going off and killing us all, caused my little 7-year-old heart to race. It was not something I could un-think, or un-know. This adult theme was one of the first steps towards my indoctrination into this world of pain, conflict, and fear. I no longer felt safe in my house that night. My dad’s presence could no longer soothe me completely and totally like it had in the past. I laid under a blanket on the floor in the living room in front of the tv, with a big piece of my innocence excised from me permanently. Isn’t that what growing up is, though? A loss of innocence and safety, a loss of that feeling of wholeness that everyone is born with. I went to bed that night with fear, and a hole in my innocent heart because I learned for the first time that this world is not safe and there are things my parents couldn’t protect me from.

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